It was a completely normal day, and I was Skypeing with my friend in Sweden. We talk every week about everything—our lives, our future plans and even the political state of the world. I met her when I studied in Sweden for a year, and we had been close ever since.
We had lived with ten other international students, and were gossiping about their relationship status when my friend asked me the kind of question that friends sometimes do. “Actually, we’ve never talked about this—would you say you’re straight?”
Direct? Maybe, but it’s not a difficult question to answer if you know for sure. Not one to lie, or even have the ability to hide my emotions well, I blushed and mumbled and her eyes twinkled with the excitement of breaking new ground. Stunned at how the conversation had turned on me, I quickly asked her the same, and she answered “Yes, but I am open minded.”
Practically squirming with a mixture of surprise and embarrassment, I changed the subject and tried to momentarily forget our unusually clunky discussion. I knew that I liked guys. I had been with guys, and I was attracted to guys. But there was this weird nagging thought that maybe just guys wouldn’t be enough for me. Had I been attracted to girls in the past? Yes. Had I ever been with a girl? Nope.
I felt like I could never be with a girl until I could truly understand and accept my sexuality, and put a label on it. Because really, that label tells you what to do, and tells others what you do, doesn’t it?
I love, respect and support LGBT people and their rights. But I was scared of the negative impact coming out as something other than straight could have on my life—the disappointed grandparents, the backlash from close-minded friends, and who knows what else.
Did the term bisexuality fit me? I wasn’t sure; it seemed very blunt and equal. I always liked guys more than I liked girls, so could I truly call myself bisexual?
I pondered these questions for weeks, fighting my urges to forget the whole thing and call myself an open-minded straight person just like I had before—except why did that always feel like lying?
And then, like a ton of bright pink feathers it hit me. I didn’t need a label. I am lucky enough to live in a time, and a country, where gay people of all types are accepted and celebrated.
Everyone is on a spectrum, and love is love. It didn’t matter if I failed to pick a side for myself, as long as I could accept my sexuality exactly as it is.
So after a lifetime of confusion and strange half-lies, I fully accept myself. I am not straight, and I am not bisexual. I am on the spectrum, like so many other people. I am me, and I am a part of the gay community. And proud of it.